Hi, welcome to a new episode of The Art of Business English. This week I have another “Grammar Day” episode for you. In fact, we are going to take a look at the use of the words “as” and “like”. They are important components for making comparisons. As you can imagine, making comparisons is an incredibly important language function in business. Unfortunately, these two words are often confused when people are trying to use them when comparing two or more things.
Nonetheless, there are some important differences between them, as well as some other functions.
So, let’s learn some of their uses to improve our communication skills.
We often use the structure as + adjective + as or “as much as” (for uncountable nouns) to say if something has, or doesn’t have, the same amount of that quality as something else.
“Depending on the bank, this line of credit could be as high as 3%.”
“This place is not as expensive as the other hotel.”
“They said I didn't have as much experience as the other candidate.”
Note: You also have to use “as” in the expression “the same as”.
“Your phone is the same brand as mine.”
“In this situation, you will pay the same as you would pay if you got the care from a network provider.”
Note: In the following comparisons, “like” is followed by a noun or a pronoun to say that two things are similar.
“He dances like a professional.”
“She’s acting like a child.”
“There are lots of people like us.”
Note: It is also common to make comparisons using “like” with verbs of the senses.
“It looks like additional efforts will be necessary to achieve the objectives.”
“This partnership sounds like something that is fair and equitable, but, at the end of the day, what we need to see is action, not just words.”
“When toasted, gluten-free bread tastes like it has been freshly baked.”
“John, can you call maintenance, it smells like we have a gas leak in the building.”
“The surface feels like velvet and gives your printed product a thoroughly sophisticated look.”
We also use “as many as” (for countable nouns) to say something has, or doesn’t have, the same number as something else.
“Even though we don’t have as many clients as our competitors, we offer more personalised service.”
We can say “like” or “such as” to give examples. “Such as” is usually followed by a list of one or more things. “Such as” is also more formal than “like”.
“There are many things we can do to protect the environment, like recycling or using renewable energy sources.”
“The standard accessory items such as mounting plates, flexible output shafts, and paddles are interchangeable with this new design.”
Talking about a job or function
We can use as + noun to talk about a job or function.
“I worked as a shop assistant for two years.”
“I slept on the train, using my jacket as a pillow.”
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As to connect two phrases
“As” can be used as a conjunction to connect two phrases. It can have different meanings.
•as = “because”
“All the tickets were sold out as we got there too late.”
“I went home early as I felt ill.”
•as = “while” or “during the time that”
“She arrived as we were finishing the meeting.”
“As she was arriving, we were leaving.”
•as = “in the way that”
“As you know, this is the third time I've had to complain.”
“As I said, I think this project will be a challenge.”
Note: In informal speech, people sometimes say like for “in the way that”.
Like I said, I didn’t know her.
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So, that’s it from me today. I hope you found this episode interesting and helpful to distinguish and use “as” and “like” properly.
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As always, if you have further questions or if you would like some advice, please leave me a comment on the blog or send me a message on SpeakPipe.
Take care until next week.